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On this week’s main listening report we spotlight the quarter finals of the 2011/12 Champions League. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report. There is also a worksheet (see right) for learners who wish to improve their English.
After the second round matches of the Champions League eight teams are left: leaving two teams from Spain, and one each from Germany, England, Italy, France, Portugal and surprisingly, Cyprus, to battle it out to decide this year’s best team in European club football. This week, the quarter finals kick off and we take a look at each match up.
Marseille -Bayern Munich
Bayern will be hoping that they can go all the way and play the final at their home ground. They’ve certainly got the pedigree, with four European Cups to their name. they also go in to the quarter finals against the French side with some great form – they are on fire with 22 goals in the month of March alone. Gomez and Robben will be sure to test Marseille, who are currently mid table in League 1. It’s been 20 years since they last won the European Cup and it seems a tall order for them to progress past the German Juggernaut.
This is a real David and Goliath fixture. APOEL will be slightly disappointed to have drawn the Spanish giants in the quarters, but on the other hand, what could be more glamorous? The minnows from Cyprus will be hoping that their solid defence can frustrate Real and they can pull off the shock of the tournament. Madrid on the other hand will be expecting to win this and will be aiming for a double – a domestic title and the Champions League. If they do go all the way, it would make it an incredible ten European Cups
Benfica – Chelsea
In a three way race for the title in Portugal, Benfica will fancy their chances against a struggling Chelsea side who are trying to salvage their season after getting rid of their coach Andre Villas Boas. But on paper the London club should have too much for the Portuguese outfit. In the Premier League they are in danger of not qualifying for the competition next year, so winning it may be their only way of being among Europe’s elite next year.
AC Milan – Barcelona
This is the tie of the round. AC Milan with 7 titles in this competition, the most recent in 2007, take on the holders and four-times winners, Barcelona. The latter are a team that most pundits think are the best team in Europe, and they will be most people’s favourites to book a semi-final berth. Although most eyes are usually on there deadly striker, Messi, Barcelona are the complete team and will be a difficult nut to crack. If any team can do it, then it could be AC Milan, who are leaders in Serie A. The two teams have met eight times in the Champions league, with three wins to Barcelona, two to Milan and three draws.
The winners of the matches between Marseille and Bayern, and APOEL v Real Madrid meet in the semis and you would expect a Bayern v Real Madrid semi final. In the other half of the draw, the betting suggests a Chelsea v Barcelona semi, but I wonder if there might be a couple of shocks and Benfica progress to meet AC Milan.
match up: tie; a pairing of two teams
go all the way: win a competition; make it to the final
pedigree : history; experience; tradition
on fire: playing well; good form
a tall order: a difficult job; a big challenge
David and Goliath fixture: when a minnow (small team) plays a giant (big/strong team)
minnows: small team; not a famous team
pull off: succeed in; achieve
get rid of: fire; sack
on paper: just looking at the squad, not form or context
outfit: team; squad
book a birth (in): secure a place in; progress to the next round in a competition
difficult nut to crack: difficult team to beat